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Sunday, 24 May 2009

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Coconut export earnings increase by 56%

Coconut sector posted 56 percent increase in export earnings during the first quarter of 2009.

According to the Chairman CDA Keerthisiri Weerasinghe, the Coconut sector in Sri Lanka was able to showcase a 56 percent growth in export earnings to register 7.417 million rupees from exports of coconut products in first quarter 2009 against the corresponding period in 2008. This achievement was made possible despite the global recession and prevailed negative sentiments.

High yielding coconut

Although number of coconut kernel based industries struck badly due to severe shortage of raw material during the first quarter of 2008, things backed to normal after May 2008 and supply situation remained favourable over the remaining period in 2008 and during the first quarter of 2009.

Chairman CDA further added that this significant achievement was further attributed by implementation of industry favourable policy framework under the Mahinda Chinthanaya, initiatives, facilitative role by the CDA and conducive international market scenario etc.

Sri Lanka is considered as one of the leading manufacturers of coconut products in the world other than Philippines, Indonesia and India. Sri Lankan coconut is well accepted in the world market for its unique sweet taste and pleasant smell.

At the same time Sri Lanka is accounted for the largest per capita consumer of coconut in the world and coconut is used as a major source of protein and fat.

Sri Lanka exports about 30 major category of coconut products to over 100 countries all over the world.

As like kernel products Sri Lanka is also well recognised in the world market for Coir fibre products and demand for Coir fibre products expressed a strong tone over past few years due to increasing concern over environmentally friendly products and demand driven by rapid growth of the emerging markets especially China.

Kernal based products

Export performance of coconut kernel based products over the period under review showcased substantial growth by 107 percent in value and foreign exchange earnings from this segment amounted to Rupees 3.5 billion against Rupees 1.7 billion in 2008.

Amongst the coconut kernel based products Desiccated Coconut (DC) exports over the first quarter of 2009 amounted to 1,739 million in value terms and this was a 246 percent increase against the value of 503 million registered in the previous year.

At the same time the volume of Desiccated coconut exported during the period under review surged by 369 percent as compared to the same period in 2008.Meanwhile Coconut oil, Coconut milk powder and poonac exports showcased 318 percent, 111 percent and 237 percent increase respectively in volume terms as against the corresponding records of the previous year.

Major importers of DC were Dubai, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

Enhanced activity in the coconut oil industry resulted in improved supply and exports of coconut poonac. The production of Coconut oil in the country continue to showcase a increasing trend since 2005.

The production of coconut oil in 2005 was mere 20,000 mt and it had increased upto 75,945 mt in 2007.

Conducive market climate

The conducive market climate for coir fibre continued in 2009.

The fast emerging economy in China again acted as the major driving force of the sector.

Although China imported large quantity of fibre in raw form Chinese market continued to keep the sector active.

Other than China improved interest was witnessed from developed countries towards coir as an environmentally friendly products.

As a result exports of coir in raw form remained strong it witnessed 106 percent increase in value during first quarter of 2009 against the previous year's value of 522 Million.

Among the coir products Coir Yarn, Coir Twine, Husk chips, Moulded coir products etc registered substantial improvement as compared to the previous year.

Coconut shell based industry is one of the other important segment in the coconut sector.

Especially Coconut shells are used largely for activated carbon industry which is having major demand in U.S.A., France, Japan and South Africa for number of applications such as water purification, gold recovery, Air pollution control, Chemical and Pharmaceutical industries etc.

Although activated carbon could be manufactured out of number of materials Coconut shell activated carbon fetches good price due to superior quality.

In the first quarter of 2009 Sri Lanka had exported 4,247 mt of Coconut shell activated carbon for a value of 784 million.

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